Operations Research Analysts fall into The Investigative Theme Code Career Category of The Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment. This assessment has been used since its release in 1927 to help individuals better understand their preferences and interests and apply this information towards finding vocational activities that they will find most enjoyable. Since its initial publication, The Strong interest Inventory® Assessment has undergone additional research and revisions and is now considered the premier assessment of its type. The Investigative Theme Code Category is focused on activities that involve problem solving by analyzing data in the real world. People with these preferences tend to enjoy flexible work environments, as well as strong mathematics skills.

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Discover the Strong Interest Inventory® career as an Operations Research Analyst. Learn about this career in this data rich write-up including information such as income, daily tasks, required education and more.

Operations Research Analysts formulate strategies for mathematical modeling to interpret information that maximizes the efficiency of decision making and other managerial functions. This process may include relating constants of variables, alternatives, restrictions, and their numerical parameters. Once the process is complete, Operations Analysts compare different possibilities and alternative courses of action to optimize outcomes, and may also perform validation and testing of modules to ensure their adequacy. They define data requirements and ensure the data is organized in a way that facilitates the conducting of the required analyses. In some cases, Operations Research Analysts design, conduct, and evaluate experimental models if models cannot be developed from data that already exists. As with most analytical careers, Operations Research Analysts also must collaborate with others in the organization, including senior managers and other decision makers, to identify and solve a variety of different problems, and to ensure that the program’s solutions are successfully implemented.

The work of an Operations Research Analysts is primarily done using desktop, mainframe, and notebook computers, though they do utilize a broad range of analytical and organizational software. This can include accounting software, analytical or scientific software (e.g., LINDO Systems LINGO; Minitab software; Stanford Business Software SNOPT; Telelogic System Architect, etc.); business intelligence and data analysis software (e.g., IBM Cognos Impromptu; MicroStrategy software; Qlik Tech QlikView), Computer aided design CAD software (e.g., Dassault Systemes CATIA software, etc.), Database management software (e.g., Apache Pig); Enterprise resource planning ERP software (e.g., Oracle Hyperion software; Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne; SAP Business Objects software; SAP software, etc.) and many more. Of course, they also rely heavily on Microsoft Office Suite and their Google counterparts.

Operations Research Analysts have a solid foundation in mathematics, computers, electronics, and engineering, as well as the English language. Furthermore, they should develop a basic understanding of the industry in which they work, whether it is hospitality, mortgage, or anything else – the production, processing, administration, and management of those industries are highly relevant to the careers of Operations Research Analysts. In addition to these content skills, they must think broadly and critically about complex problems, and make timely judgments confidently, even when they could determine the success of their company and the security of their jobs. For these reasons, Operations Research Analysts have strong problem sensitivity—the ability to sense and resolve a problem—as well as the ability to come up with a number of ideas about a given situation to develop creative solutions to potential problems. Finally, Operations Research Analysts benefit from strong near vision because they spend so much time at computers.

The majority of Operations Research Analysts have earned a Master’s Degree (56%), though many of them also continued their education to earn a Doctoral Degree (11%). However, some 30% earned only a Bachelor’s Degree but are still successful.

Operations Research Analysts salary is $78,000 on average nation-wide, though they often make over $130,000 at the upper end, or close to $45,000 at the lower end. That said, in some states, like Virginia, the average salary in the state is over $100,000. California, New York, and Texas all have average salaries over $80,000 with the highest-paid Operations Research Analysts in these three states earning over $130,000. Employment rates for Operations Research Analysts are expected to rise nearly 20% in all states other than Massachusetts and Alaska, with Utah and Arizona leading the way with employment rates rising 59% and 55% respectively. California and Texas both expect to add over 5,000 jobs in the next several years as well.

Below are some employment trends for Operations Research Analysts:

  • Median Salary: $40.78 hourly; $84,810 annually
  • Employment: 109,700 employees
  • Projected growth (2018-2028): Much faster than average (11% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2018-2028): 10,900
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections]

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org